Karl Bateman, National Specifier Manager at Calor, discusses the particulars of LPG tank siting and specification.
For rural installers servicing homes that are not connected to mains gas, offering installation and maintenance of LPG boilers can provide a much welcomed boost to business.
Although installers may be a familiar with how to fit an LPG boiler – as they are very similar to mains gas boilers – it’s also important to understand what the fuel switching process involves.
So, what are the key points that installers need to keep in mind?
Assessing the space
Before suggesting LPG to a customer, installers should assess how much space is available outdoors to accommodate the on-site gas storage tank. Take into account the garden size, and whether the area is accessible from the road.
Homeowners can choose between an above-ground tank and underground tank or, if they have a smaller garden or limited rear access, cylinder packs are available, allowing LPG to be a viable option for a wide variety of homes.
Tank size and siting
According to the UKLPG COP1 regulations, the minimum space requirements for siting an underground and above-ground tank is 3m away from buildings, boundaries, or any other fixed source of ignition, measured from any part of the above-ground tank or the circumference of the lid on underground tanks.
A standard 1,200l above-ground tank requires a minimum garden area of approximately 8m x 7m. It normally requires a concrete base of 2m x 1m x 0.15m too, yet it may be possible for the LPG supplier to provide a pre-fabricated base as part of the installation process to avoid the hassle of the customer arranging for this to be fitted.
For example, for an above-ground tank installation, Calor will install the base for an installation fee, deliver and site the tank, and mole up to 12m of supply pipe to the property, finishing with an emergency control valve on the property wall. The installer is then able to take the gas supply from the control value point, in either 22mm or 28mm pipe, to the new LPG boiler they’ve installed.
Underground tanks and cylinders
Underground tanks are also a popular option, and the end-user will only see a small circular green tank lid, giving the delivery driver access to the tank during a refuel. A 2,000l underground tank is usually sufficient for most households.
For a smaller garden that doesn’t meet the 8m x 7m area, or a relatively small property with a low heating demand, the customer can opt for a cylinder supply. Cylinders used for home heating are usually 47kg in size and installed in pairs or four-packs.
The cylinders must be positioned against a solid brick wall in a readily accessible area to protect from physical damage, and to not obstruct exit routes. In addition to this, they should be a minimum of 1m away from windows, doors, and uncovered drains.
The LPG supplier will need to be able to deliver gas to the customer, so consider the access issues that a tanker may face. Does the tanker have access to park within the 35m hose range? Can the driver see his vehicle during the refilling process?
Customers’ needs must also be taken into consideration, preserving the view of their garden may be high priority.
By understanding these key points when discussing an LPG conversion with customers, installers can successfully recommend the switch and give their business a boost from the boiler installation and ongoing maintenance work.